Exchange Students Share Their Experiences at UMF

By Anna Manuel Contributing Writer


   As UMF students make decisions whether to study abroad, there are students from other countries doing their study abroad in Maine who are drawn to UMF’s small campus and the friendliness of the people here.

   Kesuma Lazier grew up in northern Tanzania where he finished middle and high school. After high school, he attended Kents Hill located in Kents, Maine for a post grad year before attending UMF. “I wanted a small college where I can make connections,” said Lazier. “Also to grow as an individual, not only around my peers but professors and other faculty.”

   Shaoning Gu is a student from China and an English major. “At UMF, the small group of discussions in class and frequent interactions with the classmates and professors are all very impressive for me,” says Gu. “People I met here are mostly friendly, kind and with smiles and greetings.”

  Clementine Leroy is from Le Mans, France and is an English major. Leroy came to UMF in August 2017 and will be here until May 2019. “I was really excited about the snow which I am not very familiar with,” said Leroy.

   Leroy says that there many differences from her university back in her hometown, Le Mans University. “In France, people are graded out of 20 points, while in the United States people are graded through letters,” said Leroy. “I have way more classes in France but less homework than in the United States.”

   “[In France], we do not choose our classes when we pick our major,” said Leroy. “We all follow the same curriculum.” There is no creative writing program in France or an education major, it is only a Master’s degree. “This comes from the fact that people need a Master’s degree in France if you want a job,” said Leroy. “You are not likely to have any opportunity otherwise.”

  Gu attended Fudan University (FDU) located in Shanghai Shi, China before attending UMF. At FDU, Gu lived with three other roommates. “It made me feel at home but sometimes it was too exciting to be quiet,” said Gu. “I enjoy a quiet room and a good book here at UMF.”

     Attending a University with English as a second language was a rocky transition for Gu. “The fast-speed oral English and hardly comprehensive texts in class were difficult,” said Gu.

   Lazier agrees that classes here can be challenging. “Depending on the level of the class, in my classes with writing, it is more challenging since English is my third language,” said Lazier.

   This semester Gu has learned poetry, how to play the piano and joined a chorus class. Some of her favorite memories here so far is,“trying to play kick ball and walking on the mountains trails,” said Gu. “They are sufficient reasons for me to be grateful and satisfied for this precious opportunity to experience a different lifestyle.”

   Leroy, like Gu and Lazier, has enjoyed her time at UMF so far. “Each teacher believes in their students success and that the whole campus revolves around the idea of being successful,” said Leroy.